7 All-New Yamaha Engines // Low-Cost Bass Boat - 11/18/2009
BoatTEST Newsletter November 18, 2009 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here.
Boattest.com: Tests You Can Trust
- MasterCraft CSX 265 SS
- Nitro Z-7
- 8 New Engines from Yamaha
- Regal 2100 RX
- Cobalt 276
- World Cat 290 CC
- Chaparral 204 Xtreme
- Scout 245 Abaco
- Yamaha 212 SS
- Sylvan 8522 Sport
- Crownline 262 EX
- Maybe It's Your Prop
- USCG Funds Capsizing Study
- Bayliners Built in Argentina
- Kamikaze Pete
- Car-Boat Catches Babes
- NY Requires PFDs in Winter
- High Levels of Mercury in Fish
- Mythbusters-- Ice Boat
- Comment on Your Boat
- Safety Tip from Cefus
- Give a Boating Course
- Winterizing EFI Stern Drives
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner
*** New Video ***

MasterCraft CSX 265 SS:
A New Category of Boat

mastercraft 265
There is nothing on the water quite like the MasterCraft CSX 265 SS. It is a pickle-fork, inboard, center console sportboat with the room of a deckboat and the breeding of a skiboat. Hats off to MasterCraft.

Introduced several years ago with much fanfare, somehow the MasterCraft CSX models -- which stands for “Cross Sport Xtreme” – have gotten lost in the last year or so with the general turmoil caused by the Great Recession in the industry. MasterCraft emerged from the economic gloom late this summer as a survivor, re-capitalized and re-structured with the help of Wayzata Investment Partners of Minneapolis, and is now, according to CEO John Dorton, virtually debt-free. That puts MasterCraft in a strong position going forward.

The introduction of the CSX concept was a bold stroke in an industry not known for startling innovation. By taking the best elements from a number of different and popular categories of boats, MasterCraft created what is – to our mind – a completely new specie of boat. It is one designed for the new generation of young people – people who want to stay physically fit, are not bound by the pigeon-holing constraints of their parents in any one sport, and who want to enjoy it all. By keying on the three healthiest aspects of boating – fishing, wake boarding and scuba diving – the CSX could appeal to families that boat as a lifestyle rather than a hobby. Further, because the CSX 265 SS is so big and flexible, it has attributes for nearly all generations. If we had to come up with an image of the first boat that could be characterized as a floating SUV, then this would be that boat. To illustrate what we mean, Capt. Steve takes us on a video tour --

Read Capt. John Wenz’s full captain’s report and boat test --

NEWS FLASH: MasterCraft is now conducting personalized tours of its SOTA factory in Vonore, Tenn, which is just a few miles south of Knoxville. If you have ever wondered how these top-tier boats are built, this winter could be an ideal time to take your family on a little trip they’ll never forget. To schedule a special tour --

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Bass Boat News

Nitro Z-7 Brings Home
The Bacon for Peanuts

Nitro Z-7
The 2010 18’8” Nitro Z-7 is all about affordable fishing (okay, so it’s not quite peanuts.) The Nitro Z-7’s motto: “Do everything you can do in the big boats, but for a lot less money.”

The message these days is that bass anglers want to go fishing without having to spend $50,000 on a fiberglass fishing boat. After all, haven’t you heard, we’re in the Great Recession, and it has hit bass fishermen as hard as anyone. They are telling us that they are willing to fish from a smaller boat with lower horsepower, but that they don’t want fewer important features. Get rid of the fru-fru. Top-end speed is no longer so important, but they still like the thrill of fast hole-shots.

That input is remarkably similar to the mission statement of the Nitro Z-7: drop the size and horses, but not the major features. This is a bass boat that seems right for the times. The 2009 model with a 150-hp OptiMax 2-stroke went for $23,995. Remaining models are offered at a published discounted price. The boat show season is right around the corner, so you’ll want to stay tuned for any other special offers during that time of year.  The boat in our tests has a WOT of 56.4 mph, which is plenty fast for most people. If you are a bass angler in the market for a new boat then you need to ask yourself exactly how much extra pleasure and how many extra fish you will catch with a bass boat that costs much more. To see our test numbers and our captain’s report on the Nitro Z-7, cast your line here.

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Engine News


New 4-Stroke Engine “Faster Than 2-Stroke”


8 New Engines Introduced Yesterday!

Yamaha Engine Yamaha Engine 2
Yamaha claims that its radically new 4.3 L powerhead will out- perform virtually every 2-stroke outboard in the tough-to-please bass boat market. Having secured the offshore saltwater outboard engine market years ago, Yamaha is now going for the whole enchilada with a 4-stroke engine series called the VMAX SHO. But is performance as good as the claims?

In 40 years of covering American recreational boating we can’t remember an announcement by an outboard engine maker that has the industry-changing possibilities of Yamaha’s disclosures yesterday in Chattanooga, TN. Not only is the company introducing 7 new engine models, the re-introduction of an old engine, but also a new line of props, among other things. Three of those new models – the 200, 225 and 250 -- are taking dead-aim at the lucrative and for Yamaha – the illusive – bass boat market. Yamaha claims that it has built a better 4-stroke mouse-trap than the EFI 2-stroke technology that bass boat anglers have stuck with for two decades. Behind these brash claims is some exciting new metallurgy (for the marine industry, at least) that has allowed Yamaha to create a new 4.2 L powerhead that has 27% greater displacement than their old 3.3 L powerhead – and also weighs less! That added displacement will help give Yamaha’s 4-stroke engines the low-end torque it has always needed to compete with 2-stroke engines. If Yamaha’s claims are true, where will this leave Evinrude and Mercury in the bass market?  To find out about this new Yamaha powerhead and to read all of the Yamaha claims -- hold your hat.

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Regal News

Regal 2100 RX:
Raising the Bar on Cool

Regal 2100 RX
This has to be one of the coolest boats we’ve tested, and oh so fun to drive. And for ski and wakeboard features, she hits the sweet spot.

The Regal 2100 RX is a ski and wakeboard dynamo that really got our captain's attention on test day. First of all, it totally blew away the myth of stepped hulls not handling turns well. This boat turned like she was on rails. But it did confirm that stepped hulls can really move... it topped out at over 52 MPH! Combine that with some cool graphics, an awesome sound system, and a 9.5 on the comfort scale, and this is a boat you have to see. Check out Capt. Steve’s performance and handling video of the Regal 2100 RX here. Where were those girls on video test day?

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*** New Video ***
New Cobalt 276 Video:
“Is it Worth the Money?”

Cobalt 276
The Cobalt 276 is one of the most comfortable and best built boats on the water in its class. She is also one of the most expensive (the weak U.S. dollar notwithstanding). We ask the question on everyone’s mind --

It’s no secret that Cobalt builds expensive boats. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes a person wants more than “just a boat”. Some people want luxury on the water and richness of the same quality as in their automobile or in their home. Hard as it is to believe, some people don’t look at the price first. For them, high quality is a given, and they are seeking something more. They are looking for refinement, serviceability, the best materials available and superb workmanship. When they find it, then they look at the price. Most veteran boaters will recognize that the Cobalt 276 is not a typical sport. But to answer that all-important question about being “worth it,” we sent BoatTEST.com’s Christopher Hughes to take us on a video tour through the new Cobalt 276. Join him, then you decide for yourself --

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World Cat 290 CC:
Is She as Roomy as She Looks?

World Cat 290 CC
So much for the V-hull claims that cats lean outboard in turns. But is the World Cat 290 CC as roomy as we’ve heard?

We continue to de-bunk the claims from mono-hull jingoists that cat boats simply don’t cut it. “They perform differently”, “they lean outboard in turns”... and, now it’s “they’re not as spacious as they look”. Ok, let’s see. The only way to show it is to do a video walkthrough and see it with a person onboard. And not a dwarf either, an average-sized Capt. Steve. Come along as he takes us through the World Cat 290 CC and checks out some of the features and the space onboard this twin-hulled fishing machine. Coming soon, we’ll take you on the water to settle the performance and handling myths once and for all. But for now, let’s climb aboard for a video look. Bring all the gear you want, even what you don’t want --

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New Boat

2010 Chaparral 204 Xtreme:
Let the X Games Begin

Chaparral 204 Xtreme
The Chaparral 204 Xtreme is a stern drive ski and wakeboard machine with multiple hull color choices and graphics -- and with what appears to be one of the highest arches in the biz.

Chaparral has pulled a rabbit out of their hat with a cool-looking trick machine, the 204 Xtreme. She’s a stern drive sportboat with all the frills that a died-in-the-wool wakeboarder needs to catch serious air and arrive back at the dock in style. Her list of standard features is impressive, but there are a few options that we think you should take a look at as well.  MSRP $48,834.  Read about the new Chaparral 204 Extreme --

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Scout Boats

Scout 245 Abaco:
Mini Express Fishboat

On the Scout 245 Abaco we love the hardtop with grab rails on top. The cabin is comfortable and the cockpit is functional.

We caught sight of the Scout 245 Abaco on the docks one day and had to take a closer look. At first glance she seemed just like another walkaround, but stepping aboard showed that she is really a small express fishboat, or, make her an express cruiser, if you want. Furthermore, she has some innovations that we liked. The Scout 245 Abaco also proved to be a very comfortable boat, something that you can’t tell from the pictures. You have to see her with someone standing in the shot giving you an idea of the size and dimensions. So we decided to have Capt. Steve give us a brief video walkthrough of some of the features that make this little express about as much boat as many people need. Bring the kids and watch the video --

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New Boat Video

Capt. Steve Looks at the
Yamaha 212 SS for 2010

Yamaha 212 SS
Capt. Steve takes his tape measure to the new model year Yamaha 212 SS and checks the ergonomics. He also has a couple of suggestions.

Powered by twin 1052 cc 4-stroke engines driving water pumps with 155 mm nozzles, the 21’ Yamaha 212 SS cooks. She gets on plane in 2.6 seconds and passes 30 mph in 4.2 seconds on her way to 53.0 mph. Once again Yamaha has taken a good thing and refined it a bit more, and made it just a little bit better than in past years. She and her big sisters now gobble up sportboat market share in their size category as more and more boaters become acclimated to jet-drive engines and are captivated by Yamaha’s signature two-level transom platform and pricing. Our Capt. Steve takes a detailed video look at the model --

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Pontoon Boats

Sylvan High-Performance
Toon Design Like a Sea Plane

Sylvan 8522 Sport Sea Plane
She looks like just another pontoon boat, but beneath the surface, the Sylvan 8522 Sport has two deep-V pontoons like those on a sea plane. Picture of a Cessna sea plane ready to land. Note the deep-V shape on the pontoons, and even strakes on each side for added lift when taking off.

Sylvan pontoon boats have a hull which the company calls RPT (Revolutionary Planing Technology). What is the RPT shape? Simply a deep-V design. While C. Raymond Hunt is usually given credit for inventing the deep-V hull in the late 1950s, in fact the design was first used in the pontoons for sea planes as far back as the 1920s. Full marks to Sylvan for being the first pontoon boat builder to adopt a concept that has been used for nearly a century successfully on sea plane pontoons, modify it, then patent it for pontoon boat use. We tested the Sylvan 8522 Sport and got some exciting speeds. Sylvan calls their 8522 Sport “High-Performance” and watch this test to find out why --

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Second Look

Crownline 262 EX Deckboat
Ready for Extreme Sports

Crownling 262 EX
The Crownline 262 EX can be fitted with the optional Razor Sports package which includes a wakeboard towing tower among other things.

It seems that almost everything is becoming "extreme" these days so little wonder that Crownline has its own “EXtreme” model in the 262 deckboat. The Crownline 262 EX has comfortable seating for 10 people, a head in the port console, and five engine options from a single 250-hp MerCruiser with a Bravo III to one powered with a MerCruiser 496 MAG HO 425-hp engine with a Bravo III drive. The latter model is $28,000 more than the base boat with 250-hp engine. Either way you’re getting a lot of boat here, and a fast one, too, due the pad on the keel and the chine vents. Crownline says their intention is to produce Corvettes in an industry that specializes in station wagons. Let’s see how well they are doing that --

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Performance Tutorial

Is A Prop Your Performance Problem?

Gross Prop
The prop experts at PowerTech! tell us that before getting to the prop, they go through other factors first when diagnosing a performance problem.

Who among us hasn’t worried about performance? Even if you don’t need to run with the stallions anymore, it's nice to know your stead still has what it takes. If you are like us, every now and then you find yourself checking your speed and rpm and wondering if your vessel is still performing like it did a few seasons ago. Also, when buying a new or used boat you want to make sure that she performs well right from the get-go with the number of people and load you plan to carry. In either case, if you detect some performance dysfunction, you need to get to the bottom of it quickly. The prop experts at PowerTech! are doctors in the business of curing performance dysfunction. Ironically, when you call them with your confidential problem (we call it PD), rather than ask about your prop, they will usually ask other questions about your boat’s general health and condition. Here are some factors they check first, before prescribing any costly medicine --

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Featured Product

Dirty Gear Oil? 
Royal Purple Has a Solution

Winter is upon us and the haul-outs have started. Should I leave my old motor and gear oil change until the spring? Lower unit gears need clean lubricant just like any other metal-to-metal surface in your power train. Max gearAnd while boaters typically pay some attention to the motor oil they buy, few pay enough attention to their lower unit lube oil. For most people it’s just another necessary expense, and it is given little thought. But just as synthetic motor oil improves performance for engines, so, too, does synthetic gear oil. It makes lower units run quieter, cooler, smoother and have a longer life. The folks at Royal Purple tell us that their “Max-Gear” lube oil “provides unsurpassed protection to heavily loaded gears” because it is synthetic and has their proprietary additive “Synslide.”
Learn about Synslide --

Visit Royal Purple --


Pro Buffer to Keep Gelcoat Shiny... Plus $47 BoatTEST Bonus Pack!

Shurhold Pro Buffer
Order the Dual Action Polisher above and receive a FREE 16 oz. bottle of Pro Polish Wax ($22.98 value), and a Pro Polish PAD & Micro Fiber towel ($23.98 value). When ordering, use the BoatTEST.com member coupon code of “BTT.”

The folks at Shurhold tell us that their electric Dual Action Polisher can save you half the time and half the effort when maintaining your gelcoat. Further, they claim that the buffer’s oscillating head prevents burns and swirl marks. That alone is worth the price of admission as far as we’re concerned. Order now and use the BoatTEST.com special member coupon code of “BTT” and you will get a 16 oz. bottle of Pro Polish Wax (which you will need) and the buffer pad (also required) for FREE. This way to order --


USCG Funds
Capsizing Study

Capsizing Study
In 2008 the #1 cause of deaths – 278 of them -- in boating accidents was because of capsizing, flooding or swamping.

Last month the U.S. Coast Guard awarded a two-year grant to the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) and Davis & Company (boat surveyors) to investigate capsizing and swamping occurrences in recreational boating. The last time the USCG investigated this category of accident in a special study was in the 1970s. In 2008 there were 856 reported accidents involved with capsizing, swamping or flooding, and 535 (62.5%) of these involved “cabin motorboats” or “open motorboats.” Greg Davis at Davis & Co will be leading the investigations. John Adey at the ABYC said that at the end of the two-year study a report will be given to the USCG, and the ABYC will determine if new design standards are needed that could reasonably be expected to reduce the number of accidents of this type.

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Industry News

Bayliners to be
Built in Argentina

Bayliners in SA
Niñas, tenga cuidado con los pies! The Bayliner 175 makes a fine starter boat and can be easily trailered to Argentina’s many rivers and lakes.

Last month Bayliner signed an agreement with marine Sur, Argentina’s largest builder of sportboats, to begin building the Bayliner 175 and 185. Argentina has a 70% import duty on boats which effectively keeps foreign product out of the growing Argentine market. The small Bayliners are already built in Mexico so both production and consumer manuals are already available in Spanish. Para obtener más información --

PWC News

Divine Wind By Kamikaze Pete

Kamikaze Pete
Grabbing awesome air is really no problem, dudes. All you need is a little practice and 10’ breakers. Does he land on his head? See the video --

Who said boating was for stodgy old men? PWCs have put fun into watersports the likes of which haven’t been seen since someone in Florida strapped two planks on his feet. If you like speed, thrills, chills and a chance to fall on your head and have a 400-lb. PWC come crashing down on you, then you’re just our kind of dude. Hold on to your seat as Kamikaze Pete takes to the air and passes some divine wind --

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Car Boats

Maine Car-Boat Catches Babes Not Lobsters

car/lobster boat
Yup, that’s a 1994 Pontiac Sunbird powered by twin 200-hp Yamaha outboards making a high-speed turn during a lobster boat race.

Things get a little slow up in Maine during the wintertime, particularly if you own a boatyard on an island with only 200 inhabitants. Little wonder, then, one cold evening at a local snuggery over a few beers with friends, Steve Johnson got the brilliant idea of building what he calls his “ca’boat.” [That’s Maine-speak for “car boat.”] Last summer he entered it in the state’s annual lobster boat races and attracted all of the attention. To find out how this boat was built plus everything you could possibly want to know about the ca’boat --

See video of ca’boat in action with two babes and no lobsters --

New Law

New York State
Requires PFDs
In the Winter

New Law
It’s the law! From Nov. 1st to May 1st you are now required to wear a PFD in any boat 21’ or smaller in the state of New York.

New York has become the first state to require life jackets to be worn on vessels up to 21 feet during the coldest months of the year. Will other states follow? How about Alaska? The penalty if caught without a life vest between Nov. 1st and May 1st on a small boat is $100, and you can not pass Go. Readers wishing to vent their anger at the New York State legislature for this transgression of individual freedom may sign in here --

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Safety Tip

Fish in 50% of U.S. Lakes Have High Levels of Mercury

Bottom feeders like this rare specie of catfish seem to have lower levels of mercury than do predator fish such as pike.

Last week the EPA released the results of a four-year study of 500 lakes in 47 lower states in which tissue samples were taken of predator fish and bottom dwellers. Levels of mercury deemed to be unsafe for human consumption were found in fish in 48.8% of the lakes tested.  The burning of coal accounts for nearly half the mercury emissions in the air which ultimately end up in water and in fish tissue, the EPA says.  What the study does not say is specifically which lakes are contaminated and which are not, and specifically which fish are over-loaded in mercury and which are not -- yet the EPA knows the answer at least in the 500 lakes it studied. Would you like to know the answers to these two questions? Please let us know at the end of this article. To see the location of the lakes and for more information --

Myth Busters

New Ice Center Console Is Affordable and Cool

Finally someone has built a center console for the budget-conscious boater. Powered by a 150-hp Yamaha 4-stroke it was clocked at 25 mph.

With over 70 builders, and counting, making center consoles boats these days, why shouldn’t the Myth Busting dynamic duo of Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman make them as well? And they have – out of newspapers and ice! As a result, they are able to sell the new boat for just $999, plus engine, freight and dealer prep. You think this is all nutty? Well, Winston Churchill didn’t. During WW II he commissioned the British Admiralty to build a 2000’ aircraft carrier of ice – at half the cost of the real thing!  The project was marked "Top Secret" and a prototype of the iceberg carrier was actually made in Canada.  Why didn't the Inuit think of this?!  To find out all about this exciting, new low-cost center console --

See the video of the new Ice CC in action --

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Owner Reviews

Calling Glastron, Smoker Craft 
and Triton Owners... Comments, Please!

Glastron DX 215

By harnessing the reach of the World Wide Web and the incredible number of visitors to BoatTEST.com, we can literally focus the experience of the world’s boat owners on each brand and boat model to help guide future buyers. Hundreds of readers have already taken the time to pass along their experience on their boats to help new buyers. These “Owner Comments” go unedited into our database. No matter what model boat you own from the three brands above, let the boating world learn from your experiences -- 

Smoker Craft Triton TR-21X DC
Smoker Craft Triton

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Safety Tip

Confused about PFDs?
Capt. Cefus Explains

Boating with Cefus McRae
Leaping Labradors, Batman, does that dog have on the right type of PFD?

Many boaters are evidently confused about whether or not they are supposed to wear a life vest, and if so, what type PFD should they wear. Now that New York State has mandated actually wearing a proper PFD in all boats 21’ and smaller from now until May 1st, do you really know what you should be wearing? Capt. Cefus McRea who hosts the weekly cable TV program Nuts & Bolts Fishing has made a short video that will explain it all. Strap it on and move it out --

Visit Nuts & Bolts Fishing website for program times.

‘Tis the Season

BoatTEST’s Boating Course Makes a Great Christmas Present

Smart Boating
BoatTEST.com Video Boating Course.

BoatTEST.com has joined with Capt. Steve to present you with an 8 CD-ROM boating course that comes in a handsome plastic box. This course covers everything your spouse, children, or friends need to know to be competent, safe boaters. It costs only $69.95, plus shipping and handling. If that is over your budget, then why not choose from one of five individual subject-area courses for only $19.95, plus shipping and handling.  Order here --

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Winterizing EFI Stern Drive Engines

To fog or not to fog, that is the question: whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or winterize against a sea of troubles...

Several weeks ago we published a article by our favorite boatyard owner, Paul Esterle, and received lots of mail complaining that Paul forgot to discuss winterizing EFI stern drive engines. All we can say is that being a boatyard owner is never a victimless crime. This week Paul gives us his take on winterizing EFI stern drive engines and most of it comes right out of a MerCruiser service bulletin. Plunk your magic twanger --

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Capt. Steve's Lesson #62

Tips on Boat Launching and Retrieval

Lesson 62
Once you get the knack of it, launching and retrieval of your boat is not as complicated as it may look. Just be sure to practice, and take it slow before going at it alone.

This week Capt. Steve goes over nine new lessons and guidelines on the step-by-step process to launching and retrieving your boat. Learn some basic tips on maneuvering your vehicle with the trailer and how to back it up properly. Watch Capt. Steve as he launches his boat and walks you through the process and techniques; from where to position your vehicle, to how much power you should use to get the boat back on the trailer. Capt. Steve will even show you how to do this if you’re boating alone. And he makes it look easy. Just remember practice makes perfect. The videos presented this week are part of BoatTEST.com's USCG-approved video boating course narrated by Capt. Steve. Watch Capt. Steve's video boating lessons every week on BoatTEST.com. To view this week’s lessons --

To view past lessons --

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Ducky Award Winner

Ducky Winner

First Place

"Wow, this is the highest I've gotten all week!" - C. Miller

Second Place

"Do you think the out drive is covered under warranty?" - G. Dorpinghaus

Honorable (almost) Mentions

"Must be the Baja Peninsula..." - E. Cavoli

"'Map not drawn to scale... 'ya think?'"
- E. Cavoli

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 11-18

You write the caption! Will you win the coveted "Ducky Award" for best caption?

Simply fill in your caption and you may get lucky -- quack here.

We need reader help!

If you have a picture that you think needs some explanation by our witty and clever readers, please send it to: lis@boattest.com.

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